Pony Stallion Beats Big Boys at Devon’s Breed Division Championships & USDF Year-End Rankings

Sunday, November 17, 2019
Posted by Yellow Horse Marketing for the National Dressage Pony Cup


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After posting big scores at dressage sport horse breeding shows in Virginia and Raleigh, there was no doubt that Samantha Kidd’s German Riding Pony The Duke of Clarence had made a splash in the show ring this year. But the 12-year-old Westfalen stallion then made an even bigger impression while competing head-to-head against full-size horses and coming out on top at both the world famous Dressage at Devon Breed Show and in national year-end rankings.

The National Dressage Pony Cup (NDPC) proudly congratulates the connections of The Duke of Clarence (Classic Dancer I x Nonchalance by Night-Star III, bred in Germany by Manfred Twiehaus), who was named the victor of the NDPC Pony Stallion Championship and NDPC/Dressage at Devon Pony Grand Championship, held during the NDPC Sport Horse Breeding Championship division at Dressage at Devon on September 24-29, 2019 in Devon, Pa.  

“I was so excited when the NDPC decided to offer a pony breed show at Devon,” said Kidd, who owns Arion Sporthorses, LLC in Southern Pines, N.C. “I wanted to support any program that promoted ponies, so we definitely weren't going to miss this. Plus the NDPC offers the most amazing ribbons and awards! I saw them before the show and was pretty excited over the prospect of taking one of them home. I love that the little guys get the biggest ribbons.”

But even after winning two NDPC titles at Devon, The Duke of Clarence was just getting started. With handler Bruce Griffin III, the stunning buckskin pony returned to the Dixon Oval to face off against horse-sized stallions in the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) Breeders Championship Series Final, where he wowed the judges for a winning score of 79.30% to be crowned as Grand Champion Stallion.

“I was nervous about having Clarence show against the big stallions – I know he can hold his own but I feel like sometimes the ponies don't fare so well going head-to-head against the big guys,” Kidd admitted. “However, I knew at Devon that the judges would absolutely judge what was in front of them and luckily Clarence really showed what he can do! He even beat my five-year-old [horse-size] stallion in that same class. I was a bit shocked and overwhelmed when Clarence won, as I felt like he really proved himself this season. He has such a great brain and loves showing off.”

As a result of his success, The Duke of Clarence was recently announced as the Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Horse of the Year in the Four-Year-Old and Older Stallions division in the Adequan®/USDF Year-End Awards standings. “Finding out that Clarence was the Horse of the Year for stallions was amazing. I was honestly shocked,” said Kidd. “I don't think many German Riding Pony stallions have managed to win this over the big warmbloods. My goal was always just to show people what Clarence would do and that he could compete with the big horses, and he did that this year. It’s been quite a journey with him and it makes me emotional thinking about it.”

In addition to the annual Championship Show, the National Dressage Pony Cup also includes an international network of more than a hundred official Partner Shows throughout the United States and Canada. These Partner Shows offer special high-point pony awards not only at each individual competition, but scores are also counted towards additional year-end Pony Cup titles. And with final year-end standings now posted on www.dressageponycup.com, The Duke of Clarence was named as Champion Stallion in the 2019 NDPC Year-End Award Results for the Breeding Division.

These achievements are even more surprising and special for Kidd, since prior to Clarence she never considered herself to be a pony person. “I breed Warmbloods and had always ridden very tall horses,” she explained. “Clarence was picked out and purchased in Germany as a foal by my good friend Nicola Van Iperen. She imported him to Canada after his licensing at age 3, but it was hard for her to make him available at stud where she was located. So she reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in him in order to give him more opportunities. I thought he was amazing, but in all honesty I had never owned a pony and didn’t think it was up my alley. However, she convinced me by talking about his personality, and I took the leap and brought him down to the U.S. a few years ago. I fell in love with him right away and have become ‘his person’ since then.”

Thanks to The Duke of Clarence’s success as well as that of her thriving “full-size” warmblood breeding program at Arion Sporthorses, Kidd was also named as the USDF Dressage Sport Horse Breeding Breeder of the Year for 2019. And as Clarence focuses on his breeding career, Kidd has no plans to give up her pony passion any time soon.

“I still breed mostly warmbloods but the pony breeding part of my program has been slowly expanding. I definitely went from feeling like ponies weren't my thing to falling hard for them,” Kidd laughed. “I was able to get two fabulous German Riding Pony mares here, then imported some young fillies. I still have a top States Premium mare in Germany who I will eventually bring over as well for Clarence, who has proven to be an amazing sire who truly passes on his best qualities to his offspring. I hope to take a good-sized group of ponies back to Devon next year, and will also have some of my young ones going under saddle in 2020 and 2021 so I’d love to take them to the national Pony Cup show one summer. My next goal is to keep a very special son of Clarence’s to hopefully raise and get licensed as well.”

Remember, in addition to the annual Championship Show, the National Dressage Pony Cup also includes an international network of more than a hundred official Partner Shows throughout North America. These Partner Shows offer special high-point pony awards at each show with scores also counted towards additional year-end Pony Cup titles! For more information about the National Dressage Pony Cup programs, visit www.dressageponycup.com.